Acquisitions, expansions and innovation

THE third quarter of 2016 has seen some interesting movement in the industry, with three of South Africa’s more significant companies involved in acquisition activities.

WEST African International, the diversified material supply business, has been bought by enX Group in a major transaction which will generate comprehensive BEE credit for the WAI business as well as open markets across Sub-Saharan Africa for eNX. 

MCG has bought LR Plastics, the Durban film extrusion and bag-making business which had gone into business rescue towards the end of last year. The Mobeni-based company is now operating as MCG Flexibles. 

Meanwhile, a relative newcomer to the FMCG world, Bounty Brands, has purchased Tuffy Brands. Bounty Brands currently boasts revenue of R3.2-bn and operating profit of R500m, with plans to grow beyond R5-bn in revenue and R1-bn in operating profit before listing in 2017.

This issue of SA Plastics also highlights some significant anniversaries. Boksburg-based High Frequency Heating celebrates 30 years’ successful local manufacturing of its range of Radio frequency (RF) technology. The company was established in 1986 to locally manufacture radio frequency welders and thermoforming equipment for the plastics and packaging industry in South Africa,

Compact Cool celebrates its 40th year of manufacturing cooling equipment this year. From humble beginnings in 1976, to date the company has supplied over 3 300 cooling units – mainly to the plastics industry in South Africa – and now operates a thriving business from its 2 000m2 premises in Booysens Reserve, Johannesburg.


K2016 will be even bigger

SA Plastics’ editor, Tessa O’Hara, spent a very interesting three days in Düsseldorf, Germany, at the end of June at the K2016 preview for members of the media. Hosted by organisers Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, more than 70 journalists from 32 countries gathered at the K2016 venue where a number of prominent K exhibitors (BASF, battenfeld-cincinnati, Erema, Haitian International, Hekuma, Huntsman, Lanxess, LPKF Laser & Electronics, Reifenhäuser Gruppe, Sepro Robotique, Sikora, Sumitomo Demag and Wacker) presented their innovations exclusively to these representatives of the international trade media.

More than 3,000 companies from over 60 nations will exhibit at K2016 from 19-26 October.

Most notable during the many K2016 preview was the focus, by almost all of the presenters, on the topic of Industry 4.0. Although no-one yet seems to have fully pinned down a succinct definition of Industry 4.0, the general consensus is that it entails applying the power of the internet to manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 is often also referred to as the ‘fourth Industrial Revolution’ or the ‘Smart Factory’, to describe the much deeper combination of information technology and manufacturing that’s now emerging in factories around the world. It could help South Africa’s plastics industry upgrade, even if it’s not entirely clear yet what shape that upgrade will take!

For example, It means that for producers of plastic parts it will allow every processing detail to be attached to a component for immediate recall from anywhere in the world at any time. For plastics processors some big challenges exist. How should a ‘Smart Factory’ be structured? How does the manufacturing network connect with those of suppliers and customers - and ultimately end-users? What needs to done to ensure system reliability? How can vital production data be secured within this distributed model? How can the huge amounts of information be most effectively analysed? And who owns the data generated - the processor or the customer?

Erema is all set to implement Industry 4.0 and herald the age of Recycling 4.0 as the first in plastics recycling industry to present an extensive ‘Smart Factory’ package for both recyclers and producers. At the K 2016 show Erema will build on the success of its Intarema technology to grow its pioneering role this year with Industry 4.0 applications. K2016 visitors will not only discover the benefits of Erema’s initiative in theory, they will also experience it live as the company will be recycling the plastic waste of the K show on site with machine, quality and process data being transferred in real time to Erema’s stand in Hall 9.

For those readers who plan to visit K2016 in October – prepare to have your senses overwhelmed with the latest innovations, live displays and information from the plastics and rubber world. And don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be doing a LOT of walking!


Tessa O’Hara